This is 2020, which means most plans or ideas have had to change - Nick and I wanted to put together and after work "Hot Lap" meeting once a month starting earlier this year, but didn't feel comfortable with the current state of things amidst COVID. It's now September, and we're thinking of getting these going, but appreciate your thoughts. Please consider filling out the survey below - if we get enough positive feedback and good feelings about social distancing, we'll get this party started!
The 2020 ride schedule would look a little something like this, pending National Forests are Open and COVID status:
September: Post Canyon, OR
October: Sandy Ride, OR
November: Syncline, WA
December: Gravel Grind in The Dalles
All ride participants would be eligible for a schwas drawing at the end of the year: Race Face Handlebars, Chris King water bottles, Dumondetech Chain lube, Dakine Hip packs & more!
Your torso is your powerhouse -- you can have the strongest legs in the world, but if you have a weak core, you'll notice you won't be able to use that leg power as well or as effectively as if you had a strong torso. Chances are technical climbs are pretty difficult for you, and long days out on the bike leave you hurting in more ways than one. If your core is weak, your spine and legs have less support and what were little aches and pains throughout your body, specifically your low back, will become more prominent. Not only is a strong core vital to preventing injury, when it is conditioned and well trained, your performance, strength, coordination and balance will also improve.
WHAT IS YOUR CORE?
Your “core” encompasses your abdominal and mid to low back muscles (rectus abdominus, transverses abdominus, obliques, erector spinae, mulitifidi, latissimus dorsi, and more). These muscles provide stability to both the upper and lower body in all activities: walking, sitting, skipping, cycling, etc., as well as protect your spine.
Here are some cycling-specific core exercises to strengthen your powerhouse, prevent injury, and improve your cycling. Whenever possible, start basic with some "bracing" exercises, similar to as you do while riding, and progress as your strength and stamina improve!
*These exercises may not be suitable for some individuals. Consult your physician before trying any of these movements.*
1. HIGH PLANK: The plank is the most basic of core bracing exercises.
Place your hands on the floor, wrists aligned with shoulders, as though you're about to do a pushup. Feet are shoulder width apart, and your spine is neutral (Avoid dipping at your hips or hyperextending at your knees). Ground your toes to the floor, engage your core, squeeze your glutes and press upward through your hands/shoulders. Focus your gaze at a spot on the floor about a foot in front of your hands, and keep a nice neutral spine as you hold the position. Hold until you can no longer maintain a neutral spine. Don't forget to breathe! Complete 3 rounds.
Want more of a challenge? Only progress as you are able while keep your hips level, core braced.
+ High plank on a BOSU.
+ Tap your feet: From a high plank, move your right foot outward, then return to original position. Move your left foot outward, then return to original position. Alternating sides, repeat for x 10 each.
+ Shoulder Taps: From a high plank, tap your left shoulder with your right hand, then return to high plank. Tap your right shoulder with your left hand, and return to high plank. Alternating sides, repeat for 10 each. Do this on the flat side of a BOSU for even more of a challenge!
+ Up-downs: From a high plank, lower yourself to your forearms, then push yourself back up, one hand at a time to a high plank. Repeat for x 5 each side.
+ Single-arm high plank.
+ Single-arm high plank on the flat side of a BOSU ball.
+ Extra credit: From a high plank, jump your feet forward to just behind your hands, knees slightly bent. Jump back to plank, then forward again, but this time with straight legs. Continue alternating "tuck" movements for a full core workout!
2. BRIDGES: Bridges are another form of core-bracing, but begin adding in basic movements to address muscles deep in your low back and pelvis. Pelvic stability is key to using leg strength effectively.
To perform a bridge, start laying on your back in a hook lying position, knees bent, feet shoulder width apart, arms at your sides (palms down). Place your feet at a comfortable distance from your body - the further your feet are from your body, the more your hamstrings are engaged. The closer your feet are to your body, the more your glutes are engaged. Perform a "kegel ", bracing your core and while keeping your hips level, squeeze your glutes and bring your hips upward towards the ceiling. Hold until your hips begin to drop or perform a series of 10 reps. Complete 3 rounds.
Tip: Drive through your heels (literally lift your toes off the ground!) to better engage the hamstrings and glutes! Hold for time or perform a series of reps.
Want more of a challenge? Only progress as you are able while keep your hips level. If you find your hips dropping on one side or the other, go back a step.
+ Add weight: Hold a dumbbell, phonebook or your best friend's dog over your pelvis, and bridge away!
+ Add in the arms: Prior to lifting your hips upward, lift your arms up so your wrists are directly over your shoulders. Keep them there and bridge upward.
+ Do it one leg at a time: If you're able to perform a standard bridge, and keep your hips level, give this a try! From the hook lying position, bring your left leg towards your chest. Keep your right foot on the floor, drive through your heel, and while keeping your hips level, lift them up towards the ceiling. Perform a series of reps, while actively keeping your left leg as close to the body as possible, then switch sides. Tip: Try holding a tennis ball in the leg folded up to your chest for the entirety of the exercise.
+ Marching: From the hooklying starting position, perform a "kegel", and bridge upward through both feet. Stabilize yourself, and proceed to slowly lift your right foot off the ground. Return your right foot to the ground, then lift the left foot off the ground, returning it to the ground. This is a stability exercise and is to be done slowly. Repeat the exercise, alternating legs, for a total of 10 each side. Complete 3 rounds. If you're comfortable here, add in the arms!
By now you're probably ready for some active core work...
3. KETTLEBELL (KB) SWING: The swing is an active movement that addresses the posterior chain, by driving a kettlebell (KB) in a pendulum motion from between the knees to anywhere eye level to overhead.
To properly perform a KB swing, you are swinging the kettlebell via your hips and legs, not your arms, "It's all in the hips"!
To start the swing, while standing upright, hold a KB with both hands between your legs via straight arms. From here, soften the knees, and hinge at the hips, letting your butt descend down and backward. Then, brace with your core, and quickly stand, driving your hips forward via one big "thrust" - you'll feel the KB swing forward and up. The bigger the thrust, the higher the end elevation of the KB. For those with a shoulder history, aim to swing no higher than eye level. As the KB descends, shift your weight back into your heels, and allow yourself to hinge forward at the hips, receiving the KB as it swings back in between your legs. Once the KB reaches its most backward trajectory, drive through your heels and hips to bring the KB into the upward part of the swing. Repeat for reps.
TIPS: Work to keep your feet flat on the floor for the entirety of the movement. There is a tendency to roll your feet outward at the bottom of the movement to give the KB space - resist this! This is an ongoing challenge for me too!
Want more of a challenge?
+ Single arm swings: Try the swing holding the KB in one hand - you may need a lighter KB for this one.
+ Alternating single arm swings: While performing a single arm swing, at the bottom of the swing, pass the KB from right hand to left, then swing! At the bottom of the next swing, pass the KB from left hand to right.
+ Add in a balance challenge by performing a KB swing while standing on the flat side of a BOSU ball.
4. EXERCISE BALL SIT-UP: Simple, but effective.
Sitting upright on a large exercise ball, brace your core, and slowly lower your torso backwards on the ball. Keep your torso straight, and avoid tucking your chin. Once your torso is level with the floor, sit up using your abdominals, while still holding that original abdominal "brace/kegel". Keep your chin up, and think about reaching it up and forward as you sit up.
Tip: Its common for the exercise ball to roll slightly as you situp, however, root through your feet and actively avoid the ball's roll as you sit up.
5. STATIC LUNGE REVERSE WOOD CHOP
Assume a high lunge position with your left foot forward and right foot back. You should be up on your toes on your back foot, and hips square to the front. Facing forward, hold a dumbbell at hip level at your right hip. Brace your core, and with straight arms, reach the dumbbell up and across your body to the left, performing a reverse wood-chop motion. Slowly return the dumbbell to the original position at your right hip, allowing full rotation at the torso, while maintaining your hips square to the front as much as possible.
Tip: Increase weight to increase difficulty.
Want more of a challenge?
+ Perform the reverse wood chop with your front foot on the flat side of a BOSU ball, a balance board, or half round for both a strength and balance challenge!
+ Make it even more difficult, and place each foot on a half round, foam roller or other balance challenging device.
These 5 exercises serve as a simple introduction to CORE strength and stability. There are thousands of core exercises, and many many variations, however, it's important to start basic, and progress as you gain strength and stability. What's most important is to be consistent with your workouts - you'll notice as you do so, your aches and pains will be less, your technical climbing will improve, and your lengthy rides will seem easier!
See you on the trail,
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
About the Author: Kim Russell has a B.S. in Human Physiology and is an ACE certified personal trainer. She is a retired Professional Whitewater Paddler of over 12 years, most notable winning the Little White Salmon Downriver Race in 2015, and in the same year was nominated for Canoe and Kayak Female Paddler of the Year. After a shoulder surgery in 2012, Kim turned her focus to racing Enduro on pedal bikes, with notable wins such as the North American Enduro Cup (2016/2017), Cascadia Dirt Cup Overall (2016/2017), 2nd at Transcascadia 5 day enduro (2018), 2nd at Andes Pacifico 5-day enduro (2020) as well as various top finishes in the Enduro World Series (Colombia, Madeira, Italy, Chile, Argentina). She is also a PMBIA certified Level 1 MTB Instructor, and loves sharing her passion of riding with others. She is a small business owner, operating KickStand Coffee and Kitchen in Hood River, Oregon alongside her husband Nick.
Want to learn how to really impress your friends? Learn how to do a proper driveway skid as part of @chriskingbuzz ‘s Global Game of Bike!
1. Wear a helmet.
2. Lower your seat all the way.
3. Find a straight section of road, and pedal forward to get some momentum. At the point you want to skid, grab a whole bunch of rear brake and turn slightly in the direction you want to skid, in this example, to the left.
4. Take your left foot off your pedal to provide you a bit of support, and let the bike’s rear end slide away from you. If you want to skid right, turn your wheel right and take your right foot off the pedal. The more speed you start with and the more you turn you wheel, the more aggressive your skid will be!
Oh, and always, always grab the REAR brake to initiate the skid!
Pro tip: practice in your neighbors driveway 🤣 or maybe don’t...
Remember, Global Game of Bike is a Stay at Home Challenge! Stay home and be safe :)
See you around the neighborhood,
In case you missed Nicks' round 6 of @chriskingbuzz ‘s #GlobalGameofBike on IG this spring, follow along on a wheelie how to with step by steps below... Don’t forget, always wear a helmet!
1: Find a nice grassy area that is flat to slightly uphill for practice.
2: Gearing: Start mid-range of your cassette- about a 30 tooth. ⚙️
3: Pedal forward to gain momentum and initiate a front wheel lift (using your pedal stroke vs just pulling back).
4: Sit back over the rear wheel, and open up your torso - straight arms is 🔑 !
5: Set your gaze slightly forward of your front wheel and pedal forward.
If you start to go over backwards, use your rear brake to bring your front wheel down. Overtime, experiment with modulating the rear brake to find the “sweet spot” for balance. Don’t be afraid to turn your bars as well as move your knees to correct for side to side imbalances as well! To be specific, if you’re falling to the right, to correct back to center, turn your handlebars to the left and perhaps wing out your left knee. It’s a delicate balance of small movements to keep you from falling side to side, but with practice, it will come!
Remember, consistent, regular practice is key!
Bonus points: Cowboy wheelie! Once you’ve nailed the wheelie, try taking a hand off the bars! 🐎
Got questions? Send them over!
Chile is a special place: delicious food, the kindest of people, a big-little city (Santiago), and hugely varied terrain of The Andes Mountains. In fact, it’s one of our favorite countries to visit. We raced the EWS both in Chile and Argentina back in 2016 and got married in between rounds near Bariloche, Argentina. Click the link below, and join us as we share with you our 2020 Andes Pacifico experience and take you on a whirlwind tour of Santiago!
Chile is a special place: delicious food, the kindest of people, a big-little city (Santiago), and hugely varied terrain of The Andes Mountains. In fact, it’s one of our favorite countries to visit -- we raced the EWS in Chile and Argentina back in 2016, and got married in between rounds near Bariloche, Argentina.
So…. what do you do when you’re a full-time foodie in Santiago, Chile for the Andes Pacifico Enduro Race and only have a day and a half to see the city? You find all the must-visit dive bars, and hole-in-the wall eateries and do them all! Meet the Hardins and join them as they take you on a whirlwind tour of Santiago and surrounding trails in “On the Road with the Hardins”.
Santiago, the capital of Chile, sits in a valley surrounded by the Andes Mountains. Home to over seven million people, it is a place of vibrant street art, pisco and chilean cuisine. While currently in a state of civil unrest, in our experience, the capital was actually quite safe to visit.
Downtown Santiago is bustling -- horns honking, skyscrapers as far as the eye can see, yet it feels small as you walk around amidst the hustle. People are kind and curious, always warm and welcoming.
Our first impression of the city: friendly. From the “city center”, it was about 4 km in any direction to a must-see - not bad. We were able to navigate the city quickly on “Lime” Scooters at a reasonable price -- most of the time they were faster than taxis due to traffic! To cruise, download the Lime app, find your nearest scooter and zoom!
Our first recommended stop is “Chipe Libre,” the Independent Republic of Pisco. Known for their Pisco tasting flights, and small snacks, it’s a great place to shake off the jetlag, taste some pisco and see a bit of the city. First things first, however, Pisco! The origins of pisco took place in colonial times in the XVII century as wine producers were struggling to produce wine for the city of Potosi. The Atacama Desert proved such an obstacle that the wine was not getting to Potosi in a drinkable state, so producers started to distill the wine and import it through a port in Southern Peru named “Pisco”. This distilled wine eventually became known as “Pisco” -- Peruvians claim it is due to the name of the port and area, while Chileans believe it is the generic name of the spirit and should be used by each country to define the spirit. To this day, the argument remains, as does Chilean Pisco and Peruvian Pisco.
Unique to the spirit, regulations state that Peruvian pisco can be made with a range of eight grapes, must be distilled only once to proof after resting for at least three months, and cannot be aged in wood. Chilean Pisco, on the other hand, can be made from a range of 14 grapes, and may be distilled multiple times to proof, as well as aged in wood. These small differences in production lend to significant differences in flavor and notes -- try one of each and let your bartender be your guide. At Chipe Libre, we highly recommend the “Chi (from the South) Flight”, featuring Diaguitas Reservado Transparente 40, Brujas de Salamanca Reservado 40, and Mistral Nobel Piscos -- the Brujas was our favorite; super smooth, with notes of caramel. Looking for a proper cocktail? Try one of the many flavored Pisco Sours (Pisco + Egg white) -- the basil is super refreshing!
Upon leaving Chipe Libre, take a left and wander the streets -- you might find a corner street symphony of violins and cello, or a crew of dancers amidst street vendors selling everything from copper earrings to paintings, and a wide variety of marijuana-based treats.
Be sure to look up, as many buildings in this “Zona Cerro” area are used as canvases by local artists, and feature not only designs and imagery, but graffitti protesting the high costs of healthcare, poor funding of education and general inequality in Chile. Pay close attention, as the people of Santiago share their voice and spread the message of what’s really happening within the city through their brightly colored stickers, flyers, and graffiti.
On the corner of Merced and Jose Victorino Lastarria, enter the classy Singular Hotel and go upstairs to The Rooftop Bar for a small bite. From here, you can get a pretty good view of San Cristobal, the second highest point in the city, marked by Statue Cristobal. If you have the time, it’s worth a visit via Funicular to the park.
But first things first, while you’re at The Rooftop Bar, order the “Carpaccio de Pulpo, limon y cilantro”, translated as Octopus Carpaccio with lemon and coriander and the "Empanada de Centolla" translated as the King Crab Empanada-- you will not be disappointed: Creamy, buttery octopus garnished with edible flowers, and small colorful beads of flavor bursting sauces. Buttery, rich pockets of cheesy crab -- while not a traditional chilean empanada of beef, raisins and olives, it was one of our favorites of the trip.
From the Singular, wander about 20 minutes West to “Mercado Central” and get a true taste of Chile. While a bit touristy and a bit crowded, Mercado Central is home to a variety of markets, and most commonly known for its many seafood vendors and restaurants. Similar to Pike’s Place Market in Seattle, Washington (USA), you can wander the aisles of freshly caught fish or take a seat at one of the many restaurants inside for a bite of seafood.
On the SW corner on the outside of the market, find “Emporio Zunino”. Founded in 1930, it takes the claim as Chile’s oldest empanaderias, and is where all the locals go for an empanada. Pay at the booth inside, give your ticket to one of the cooks behind the counter and place your order -- Fresh out of the oven comes a light and airy pastry in the form of a Traditional Pino (beef, egg and olive), Cheese or Pizza Empanada -- the empanadas here are the most traditional of all we tasted (and we tasted, at least one per restaurant!).
Across the square, wander to La Piojera, the Mercado’s dive-bar, to try Chile’s national drink, “El Terremoto”, which translates to “Earthquake” -- if you drink too much, it’s as though the ground is shaking, and you’re in an earthquake! In an almost continuous motion, watch bartenders scoop pineapple sorbet into a cup and follow it up with Pipeno, a sugary white wine, and either Fernet or Grenadine syrup. Deceptively sweet, the Terremoto is a perfect way to wash down that empanada. Stay and watch the scene -- bartenders are friendly, and the place is by no means a dive-bar. It’s colorful walls are covered in fun posters and signatures, and if you’re lucky you might catch some traditional accordion music.
At this point, it’s highly likely you’ll be in a food coma -- jump in a cab and head to Las Condes to Centro Artesanias los Dominicos, a collection of artisans showcasing their talents. A bit out of the way, but well worth it for some culture and souvenir grabs. Most common is anything copper (think pans, earrings, rings, plates) as Chile is the largest prophyr copper exporter in the world. Also common: pottery, wood carvings, alpaca blankets and clothing, as well as various other fiberworks, and “Crin”: the art of recycling horse hair and dying it with natural plant fibers. These fibers may then be woven into jewelry such as bracelets or necklaces, or be used alongside metals of the region.
Centro Artesanias los Dominicos is a great place to find that little Chilean remembrance -- note most artisan stalls are closed on Mondays. In addition, if you’re in Santiago on a Sunday, law states that workers must have at least two Sundays off a month, so many restaurants, etc… are closed
Once you’ve gotten your favorite people a goodie, hop a Lime scooter to dinner at Margo on Isidora Goyenechea in Las Condes. I’ll let the photos do the talking, but do be sure to order the “Plateada” with Sweetcorn Puree, a traditional chilean dish, as well as the “Prawns with creamed Mote” and “Octopus with Chimichurri on Pea puree”.
Now that you’ve eaten your way through Santiago, you’re probably ready to get some wheels on the ground.
Santiago proper has 3-4 areas very close to town that are safe and easily accessible -- simply open up Trailforks and pedal your heart out.
However, if like us, you’re looking for a proper adventure vacation, consider registering for the Andes Pacifico, a 5 day blind enduro bike race from the Andes Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Imagine you and your friends relaxing creekside, beer in hand, belly full of humidas (a delicious corn-like tamale treat), waiting for a gourmet dinner, while your bike gets a full tune-up by SRAM mechanics. After a dinner of Argentinian steak and quinoa salad, you saunted back to your tent for a full night’s rest before you wake up and shred a full day of Chilean anti-grip. Who wouldn’t want to partake?
At Andes Pacifico, you are fully catered to: food is cooked by proper chefs, creekside beers and snacks are waiting post-race for your indulgence, massage therapists are available to tune up your race legs or offer some extra vacation relaxation. Your tent accomodation and gear are moved from camp to camp for you as locations change. Bike mechanics are on-hand and available for your bike-fixing needs -- there’s even a tech riding the trail alongside racers for any on-trail mishaps... All the while, you’re on trail having the experience of a lifetime, racing stages that start as high as 11,700ft at the Argentinian border, while condors circle overhead and juicy watermelon and empanadas wait at the finish line.
Every single person racing or at all associated with the event is awesome -- everyone is there to have a good time, and you can choose to race to win, or race for fun! The event is full of good energy and genuinely wonderful people from all over the world.
For this year’s event, organizers took the race farther North than it ever had been, meaning every day we saw different terrain than the day prior. Everything from high alpine moonscape, to steep and sandy, to loose and rocky to riverbed tech and what seemed like “live” fresh cut trail through fields of thorny bushes. The anti-grip was constant, however, as braking distances at race pace were about four times normal and most stages required a high level of focus to avoid riding with too much front brake and ending up in the thorns. The anti-grip in Chile is no joke, and made for a wild five days of racing!
My favorite and most memorable stage was the last stage on Day 3, which took us down a track that was part sand, part loose babyheads, and full of big moto-ruts at that oh so perfect angle of descent. This ended up being a stage that was tossed at the end of the day for technical problems, but was one of my favorites, setting that perfect drift into moto-corners and just holding on. Mind the cactus and other pointy things, of course. The stage ended at a feed station of pizza empanadas, watermelon and other fresh fruit -- doesn’t get much better than that. As for memorable moments, I’d say getting to see so many of our traveling circus friends, as well as meet so many wonderful new people: Australians, Colombians, Czechs -- these people are friends for life now.
For Nick, this was his first race since ACL-surgery a little over a year ago. He chose to race Master’s in order to give himself the opportunity to return to racing with a little less internal pressure, and to allow himself the time to get back into the swing of things -- worked out pretty well as his knee felt 110%, and he won his category. YEW!
We’re already planning out our next Trans event! Where to next?
See you on the trails,
Kim & Nick Hardin
Big thanks to EVIL, Chris King Precision Components, Race Face, Dakine, SMITH, PUSH, Dumond Tech, KickStand Coffee & Kitchen for supporting us in our adventures!
Pro Tip: If you decide to make the trip, be sure to double check your baggage as it is being tagged for Santiago (SCL). It is not uncommon that it will accidentally be tagged for SLC, and your bikes won’t show up for a few days. If that happens to you, visit the street market near Chupe Libre for a sock purchase.
If you haven't been to Sedona, do yourself a favor, and book a ticket, Now. Seriously, do it.
Sedona is located in central Arizona and known for it's red rock, deep canyons, pine trees, and extensive network of trails for both hiking and mountain biking. Long rocky slabs lead way to stair-stepping red chunky rocks line with prickly pear cactus. Technical climbing is a thing, and Sedona mileage is not like you're typical backyard mileage -- think power move after power move after power move. The sun rises early, and darkness falls quickly.
Roam Bike Fest "West" took place November 8-10 as 350 women descended on the Red Agave Resort for the world's largest bike festival for women. The festival started early on Friday, with VIP rides and product demos. Each brand held a mini "clinic" in the afternoon and a "Happy Hour" around dinnertime.
On the daily, women could go out and ride on their own, or participate in a scheduled ride with the various brands.
For both East and West Roam Bike Fest, I attended as a Dakine athlete, leading rides. In Sedona, we were lucky enough to have a solid group of ladies along for a "Hi-Line" ride, one of the more challenging trails in the area, as well as a huge group for an intermediate ride on Broken Arrow. With a little bit of coaching, and some line-choice help, we all made it down in one piece, all smiles! Each day, as we meandered back to home-base at The Red Agave, the change in the girl's confidence level was something to see -- girls were sending ledges and riding technical downhill bits that they wouldn't even touch over the first half of the ride. Pretty awesome -- this makes for a pretty fun environment and experience for everyone involved. Thanks Roam! I'm already looking forward to next year!
Happy Hour anyone?
Team Dakine/Hydrapak and our raffle winner!
Deep in the Hi Line Vortex
Less Talky More Bikes, as Roam Says!
Packing your bike for air travel can be daunting.... let us break it down for you!
1. Be sure your seat dropper is all the way down, and hang your bike in a bike rack.
2. Remove both pedals (spacers too if you have them!) and both wheels. Put pedals in ziplock, along with spacers. Put brake chips between brake pads (to prevent caliper being pressed during travel and having to bleed your brakes upon arrival).
3. Remove your brake rotors, and place in ziplock or pouch along base of travel bag. Must be kept flat during travel and not allowed to bend.
4. Remove your stem and attach bars/stem to frame (We prefer to detach at the stem/steerer tube interface vs stem/handlebars, so you keep all your angles the same, and it's simply less bolts to remove).
5. Remove fender and place in bag.
6. Remove chain quick link and place quick link and full chain in ziplock (this allows you to fully tuck the derailleur away in the next step).
7. Remove rear derailleur (leave the hanger on), and zip-tie the derailleur between the rear chain stays. I always run a zip-tie through the attachment bolt at the rear derailleur to hold all the spacers, etc. together during travel.
8. Add foam along the frame if you would like more padding.
9. Place in your bag and tie down accordingly.
10. Deflate tires slightly, and put wheels in wheelbase along sides of the bike.
11. Stuff your bag full of all your gear!
Of course, bike bags vary in size and layout. While the steps above will help you break down your bike for travel, there may be an extra bike-specific step to add.
Note: Before flying, be sure to check with your airline about weight and size restrictions. Currently, American airlines will let you fly your bike for $35 if the bag is less than 50#! There are also embargo's throughout the world that may impact your ability to fly a bike with a certain airline into a certain country. Do your homework, and check these details!
Oh, and don't carry CO2 in your bike bag- it's unlikely to be found, but very possible you'll get your boarding pass taken away while boarding at 11pm in Colombia, and bags taken off the plan while police search your bags. Oops. At least they let us back on the plane... eventually!
Once you get to where you're going, simply reverse the process!
See you at the airport,
When choosing a handlebar, first consider your riding style. Do you prefer XC, DH, Enduro, or are you a cruiser? Are you a petite female who prefers riding DH, or a tall lanky man who races XC?
Flat vs. Riser Bars:
Bars vary from a flat bar (0mm rise) to a medium rise (20mm), to hi-rise (35/40mm). Generally speaking, a flat bar will pull your body low and to the front. Your steering will be very precise at lower speeds and on flat trails, as more weight is distributed over the front wheel. However, on steeper trails, riding can become challenging due to the forward biased body position over the front wheel.
On a high rise bar, your weight is more evenly distributed as the body position is more open, and torso more vertical, shifting weight rearwards, in comparison to a flat bar. This allows for easier unweighting of the front wheel, and generally better descending than a flat bar. However, at lower speeds and flat trails, steering is less precise, lending the rider to actively ride farther forward to weight the front wheel, and maintain maximal control.
Bars vs. Spacers:
Overall bar height is affected by the rise of the handlebar, but also the number of spacers under the stem.
To break it down, riser bars affect vertical height only. Adding or removing spacers (under the stem), on the other hand, affect vertical height as well as horizontal reach. Better said, if you go from zero to four spacers under your bars (keeping the same stem length), your reach distance will decrease, while total bar height (ground to bars) will increase. If you go the opposite direction, from 4 to 0 spacers, your reach distance will increase, and bar height decrease.
Generally speaking, wider bars are for more aggressive riding, while narrower are more of a standard on XC bikes. Wider bars generally mean greater leverage and stability, however, may be uncomfortable for smaller riders as the grip is wide (mind your shoulders too!). Not to mention, wider bars can be a challenge for narrow trails.
Sweep is relative to wrist and shoulder positioning. A brand will generally have the same sweep across the entirety of their handlebars. Don't overthink this one. Pay more attention to rise when choosing the bar.
Aluminum or carbon? Carbon is generally lighter, stronger, and much more stiff than aluminum. This translates into increased vibration dampening, and precise control. Nick and I have been running carbon bars for years, and are big fans!
So we've talked about a lot -- how do I choose a handlebar? Mountain biking is a very dynamic sport, across varying terrain. Everyone has a personal preference regarding comfort -- on a mid-rise bar, if you generally run a tall spacer stack, and are on a longer DH bike, perhaps try a hi-rise bar and shorten the stack. This will push your grip position horizontally away from you (increase the reach) putting your weight more over the front of the bike (greater traction!), while keeping same bar height. Or keep that mid-rise bar and play with spacer stack height. If you're racing XC, start with a
Generally speaking, there's no one rise that's recommended for everyone, as its truly personal preference, and much related to your riding style. Moral of the story... next time you need a new bar, try a different rise. Play with spacer height as well and ride a variety of trails.
Our Favorite Handlebar:
Our go to handlebar is Race Face's SixC 35mm carbon bar, 35 mm rise. It allows for a wide range of versatility in terms of bar height. If we're riding a longer bike, we can have a smaller spacer stack as well as the ability for the grip position to shift forward (longer reach) as we remove spacers, while maintaining an aggressive riding position. Realistically, we could go to a 20mm rise, and add more spacers under the bars to get the same vertical bar height, however, the reach would be shorter than our current setup, not our preference.
The SixC carbon bar currently comes at 800mm, however, both of us prefer a 760mm bar. The bar comes with graduated cutting marks on each end for cutting purposes. We measure twice, and cut once -- the bars were noticeably more stiff at 760mm compared to 800mm, but not so stiff they are uncomfortable or bother the joints.
We've been running the SixC for 4 years now, and have never broken a bar. They are lightweight, strong, and offer a good "feel" while riding. Regardless of our riding and racing, we put on new bars every year as they are our main connection to the bike outside of the pedals. Not worth it for a hairline crack or a weakened bar, albeit we have never had any issues or seen any hairline fractures. We've beaten and abused these bars over the years, and they are without a doubt the best on the market for feel and longevity. Not to mention they come in a variety of colors so you can color match your bike!
Next time you're shopping for bars, give the SixC a try. If you have a 20mm rise already, try a 35mm rise and ride a variety of terrain. Learn what you like, and take into consideration your riding style and preferences.
See you on the trail,
Kim and Nick Hardin
First things first, Dumonde Tech knows whats up.
Dumonde Tech was started in 1985 around the motorsports industry: clutch oils, engine oils and 2-stroke mix. In the bicycle world, they are known for their array of greases, and chain lubes, specifically the Lite (yellow) and Original Bicycle Chain Lubes.
What follows is an unbiased a review as possible of the Lite and Original Dumonde Tech Chain lubes. The only reported difference between the two is concentration, according to DMT -- with the light being less concentrated for easier application and optimum performance.
Consider this review relative to riding mountain bikes 5 to 6 days a week, primarily in the PNW (loam > fine dust).
How much do you know about chain lube?
The Dumonde Tech Lite and Original chain lubes are literally liquid plastic that through polymerization (via heat and pressure while riding) forms long-lasting "plating" on all chain surfaces.
But really, what does this mean?
It means that the plating bonds to the chain -- the lube literally can't be washed off! This makes for extremely environmentally friendly, durable lube that lasts and lasts and lasts. Your drivetrain can thank you later, as the more you use Dumonde Tech lube, the cleaner your chain and drivetrain will actually get -- It literally purges old (other) lube. This means that your equipment will last longer, saving you money and time.
Fun fact: Before using Dumonde Tech, we would go through two cassettes and 2-3 chains + chainrings each a year. However, once we started using Dumondetech, we can get through the entire season on the same cassette. Now, we only replace my chain and chainring really once a season.
Let's get down to the nitty gritty...
Application: Directions state, " Thoroughly clean and dry your chain before the first application of Dumonde Tech (you'll only need to do this once). Apply sparingly and wipe off excess lube with a cotton rag so that the chain's outer surface appears dry. Ride immediately.
In our experience, Dumonde Tech chain lube is easy to apply. It's thick enough that the drops land on the links as it come out of the bottle, but not so runny it leaves a spray of lube across the ground. Skin friendly too, in the event you get some on your hands...
Durability: Dumonde Tech recommends reapplying only when you start to HEAR the chain, not via appearance.
As we mentioned earlier, the lube is literally liquid plastic, so it can't be washed off. It literally bonds to chain links, extending the life of your equipment!
Despite this, regardless of lube need (via sound of course), we clean and lube our chains before every ride. Even if the ride is only a few miles -- it's more a habit than anything else. With that in mind, it's not very often we hear our chain, especially because living in the PNW, our dirt is more loam-based than other locations. With that said, in the hot summer months, or upon travel to more dusty locations, we will REALLY NEED chain lube.
Light vs Original: Relative to mountain biking, we use the original, more concentrated version when conditions are harsh. Think wet, muddy, dusty, gritty. Or.... primo conditions, but a long ride (20+ miles), where we really want to be sure we've got plenty of lube on our chain for the extent of the ride. Otherwise, we primarily use the light lube, for optimum performance: a proper balance between function and lube. You could perhaps argue we should do the opposite, however, I prefer to run light, and lube more often, than run thicker and lube only every so often. Regardless, the durability of the lube makes it particularly good for wet, sloppy conditions.
Smell: It may not smell like lavender, but it doesn't have a strong chemical smell either.
Sound: In our experience, when mountain biking, we can ride around 40 miles in the PNW on "Lite" lube before we hear our chain. Add about 15 miles for the "Original" Lube, and that's one happy cyclist. Road cycling you can expect these numbers to increase significantly (less dirt/dust, etc).
Chain Breakage? Since riding Dumondetech, we have never broken a chain (outside of your crazy mechanical). Coincidence, I think not.
All in all, we have been using Dumonde Tech for the last five years. We use it in the form of chain lube, and various greases for our bike, as well as motorcycles. Based out of Kirkland, Washington, we choose to support PNW local, and have experienced for ourselves the ridiculous durability of the Dumonde Tech product, and the extended life of our equipment. If you haven't tried Dumonde Tech, do it now!
Pro-tip: Dumonde Tech chain lube is safe for use all across your bike -- we even use it in our hubs!
Nick & Kim Hardin